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New Grant County Jail

Welcome to the Central Services "New Jail" blog, which is intended to provide general information to the public and stay up to date on the progress of the new jail.

The creator of content for this blog is the Central Services Director, Tom Gaines. I will endeavor to keep this updated often but currently have no exact timeline for posting updates. You can subscribe to the blog here and select this blog under the "blog" category. By subscribing, you will receive notifications whenever I do provide updates.

You may contact me directly at the County Courthouse, 509-754-2011 extension 3276, with questions or concerns, and I will gladly try to answer any questions one may have. It is intended to provide public information for a project that could have a significant and positive impact on the community. Members of the public are always invited to contact the elected official for their district and voice concerns if they so desire.

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Feb 16

Social Media and the News

Posted on February 16, 2022 at 5:09 PM by Tom Gaines

True or False

The County officially owns the track and its immediate surrounding properties. This purchase wasn't a "land grab," as some have made it out to be. Even though the public had little opposition to utilizing the Port, the Port denied our request to purchase the property. As discussed in previous posts, the other two out of three sites we considered were not compatible.

The County wanted to act and reached out to the track owners, and although it was not listed, it turned out it was for sale. This outreach was the first time the County had contact with the owners. We found out the City had made an offer on the track as they were already interested in the property. They had offered a price to the owners and were upfront about it. However, no earnest money had been exchanged, and no formal offer in writing. The County spoke with the City and made them aware of our intentions to purchase the property.

The City was supportive, and they knew that the denial from the Port was a setback. They also knew that we would be willing to work with them on future ideas or plans. It was in the best interest of both parties to procure property close to town. The County made a formal offer matching the Cities, and the track owners accepted. That's the story. That's the truth.

We decided to purchase the surrounding lots for a few reasons.

  1. For any future development, the property would provide a buffer between any new residences and a jail.
  2. It is close to the current location, and we wanted to keep everything close to continue contributing to Ephrata's local economy.
  3. The current Courthouse is in a flood zone. Although we have no plans on moving any other part of the campus to that location (other than the Sheriff and the Jail), if there were some catastrophic event in the future, or if forced by growth, we would have a place to move offices if required. We wouldn't be burdened with the entire site selection process or need to worry about finding land in a County that is expected to grow more than most over the next 20 plus years.
  4. We have offered to sell land to the City if they ever decide to move City Hall out of the flood zone. That is entirely up to the City, and we don't know their plans. But they no longer need to perform that search if they wish not to. If they ever decide to move like that, they have a place they can go, and we appreciate the relationship we have together.

None of our actions have been in the dark or kept from anyone. The City has been well aware of our process from the beginning as much of it involves processes where they will be involved.

This blog is again intended to keep the information flow going to the citizens of the County. We want to have a project that benefits the County, adds to the safety of the residents and officers, and adequately addresses the needs of the County. This project will have a significant impact on the County. We hope that the residents will subscribe to this blog to keep up to date with the goings-on and, of course, call and ask questions. Don't let rumors set your opinion. If you hear something that doesn't seem right, send an email or call, ask the question.